Don’t let UV hit you for six

Cricket players are at high risk of UV damage that leads to skin cancer with long hours outside training and competing during peak UV months. Matches can often take place over an entire day with little shade available – so even at very low levels of UV, good sun protection is needed.

Former cricketing greats Ian Chappell, Max Walker, Richie Benaud and Michael Clarke have all had public battles with skin cancer. Professional and recreational players alike need to ensure adequate sun protection on the field all year round.  

Five tips for how to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide without compromising your game

1. Cover up exposed skin: SLIP on clothing that covers as much skin as possible, such as loose, long-sleeved shirts with collars. Look for fabrics that are rated UPF50. Consider flipping the collar up for added protection. Tops with long sleeves allow you the flexibility to have full arm protection.

2. Apply sunscreen or zinc correctly and frequently: SLOP on SPF50+ broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen or zinc to any exposed skin. Neither will provide 100% protection but used in conjunction with other sun protection methods it will greatly reduce your risk of skin damage.

  • Apply at least 20 minutes before the first ball. If you’re in the slips and fear dropping a catch look for a dry touch or active formula that won’t be greasy.  
  • Sunscreen or zinc should be reapplied at least every two hours or more regularly if you’re sweating so put extra in your cricket bag. Hydration breaks provide the perfect opportunity to reapply.
  • Correct application of sunscreen is essential. 85% of Aussies don’t use enough sunscreen, putting themselves at risk. Check out our sunscreen calculator.

3. Protect your face, neck and ears: SLAP on a wide-brimmed hat when fielding to protect your face, neck and ears from the constant UV. Once the batting helmet comes off, remember to put your wide-brim hat back on. A broad-brim should be at least 7.5cm for adults and 6cm for children.  Avoid caps as they don’t protect your cheeks, chin, ears and neck which are particularly vulnerable in direct and reflected sunlight on the field.

4. Avoid peak UV times of day: Try to schedule training and matches earlier in the morning or later in the day when the sun’s UV isn’t as intense. Download the free SunSmart app to stay on top of UV levels and sun protection times. SEEK shady breaks whenever you can. Hydrate in the shade and find shady spots when off the field. Encourage spectators to find shady spots to watch the match.

5. Protect your eyes from high levels of reflection: SLIDE on sunglasses to help protect from the high levels of UV reflected off the pitch and field. For best protection, look for wrap-around sunglasses which meet the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 1067).